Thursday, April 24, 2008

What I liked about Thailand

Thailand was really an amazing experience. There were a whole bunch of things that were difficult to handle (food experience, smells that made you gag.. literally gag)
So, I thought I would list some things that were cool.

Insane drivers. 
However.. not really... It is just a different game. When you are driving, people just pretty much take the path of least resistance. This makes the lines on the road "Guidelines" and if you want to take your motorcycle or scooter down the opposite side of the road to get around some traffic, then.. thats what you do. 
What was really amazing to me, was that whole families of people ride around on a 2 seat scooter. Here is a photo of a man and a woman with their two kids all squished onto a scooter.

You can also see in this photo that the traffic patterns don't make a whole lot of sense.. people driving every which way. The Scooter on the right has three people on it.

Tuk Tuks (pronounced took took)
My friend described them as a motorcycle with a wheelbarrow attached to the back of it.
These are motorcycle taxi's. It is a crazy experience! There are no seat belts, and the drivers are really hardcore. so you are hanging on for dear life, and flying across traffic with a totally exposed feeling. You are inhaling all sorts of pollution, and who knows what, but it is fun thing to do as a tourist. I am sure if you lived there, you wouldn't be so eager to use them. However, they are everywhere!
Here is a photo of our Tuk Tuk driver.
The Markets
We went to Pat Pong Night Market, Chatuchak Weekend Market, and San Luam Night Plaza
So much more.. but I have to take a break for food!

Pat Pong Night Market is filled with  super high energy, and any kind of knock off product that you want. In order to experience these markets successfully, you have to be prepared to bargain like never before. My advantage was that I saw some expert bargaining happen in Beijing last month. Tamara was tremendous at being persistent and pushing the vendors really hard with no guilt. 

So, you see a watch that you want, and ask for the price. They pull out a calculator and punch in 3000 Baht. you immediately have to react like they are trying to steal your first child. You explode with a "No WAY" reaction and ask for a better price. They will right away punch in 2200 Baht. You can then calm down just a bit, and say "Nah" and then they will hand you the calculator and tell you to make them an offer. Now, the key here is to keep the price moving down. So, I refuse the calculator and ask them for the "best price"  This will bring the price down to somewhere around 2000 Baht or 1800. Instantly... in two sentences, you went from 3000 Baht to 1800. Now the fun begins. So, it is your turn... you say no to the 1800 and they hand you the calculator and ask how much you want to pay. You punch into the calculator 800
and they yell at you... no no no! They punch in 1700, and you have to return 1000. They will eventually come down to around 1500. Here is where you throw them a curve ball. You have been eyeing a second watch that you like, and when you get them close to their lowest price on one, you ask them how much for two. They will respond with 2800 and you come back with 2000. Back and forth... you finally settle on 2400 and walk away with each watch for about 1200 Baht. So, you pay $40.00 for a very nice watch. Better than you get for $40.00 anywhere in the states, and yours just happens to look exactly like a Rolex or Breitling. It is very difficult to tell the difference unless you have both the real and the fake side by side. The knock offs are really incredible. 
The Chatuchak Weekend Market has a totally different vibe. The bargaining works the same.
But instead of an alley full of booths, there is a whole complex about 35 acres with over 15000 booths and stalls. It is a total mad house! They other factor that makes the experience totally different, is that the weekend market runs during the day. So, now you are shopping around in the 97 degree heat with humidity that is suffocating! In the weekend market you can get anything you want, from clothes to jewelry, home furnishings, and artwork. It really is a pleasant experience to just wander around and really have no agenda. There are so many tourists as well as locals there, that you get to see an assortment of culture right in front of you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

some photos

The View from Sirocco

Hartley, Tina, and Georges

Hartley, me and Georges

Rolex Time in Pat Pong Night Market

My Room at the Conrad Hotel in Bangkok
Pat Pong Night Market
I thought this was priceless

Big Plane Engines (hope the keep working)

Singing "God Bless America" (and Sbarros Pizza)

It is a amazing how you can get woken up on a 17.5 hour flight for breakfast, and when they put the plate in front of you, you are looking at a Chilean Sea Bass. Huh??? Thats not even close to breakfast food! The flight was good. I got on the plane and immediately fell right asleep. Woke up as the plane was taking off, and then right back to sleep for 6 wonderful hours. I totally missed the first meal, oh.. and the second meal. But somehow, I still wasn't all that hungry. The flight attendant asked if I wanted a sandwich so, I said yes, and selected the ham sandwich. She dumped off some veggie sandwich and after the first bite, I was so done. The veggies were just slimy, and it was not going to happen. The interesting thing was that after our wonderful dinner on the top of the world Monday night, I didn't eat anything at all until about 8:00 on Tuesday. I had heartburn most of the day, and just didn't feel like eating, so as we were walking around Pat Pong Market, I saw a Mcdonalds and thought that I could down a cheeseburger and it might not spoil my dinner on the plane. So, I had a cheeseburger in Bangkok at McDonalds. Scotty you would have been proud! Then as I said, I slept through all the meals till breakfast and then passed on the old Sea Bass breakfast. Amazing how I could go almost 44 hours on only a Mcdonalds cheeseburger. I made it through customs and went to the food court and had two pieces of Sbarros pizza. It was nice to eat American food again.

I went to the United counter to check in and the sign said, please go to the first available agent kiosk. There was one open, and I walked up to the lady and smiled, and she grew satan horns and snapped at me. "You are going to have to wait until I am open" "I am not ready yet!"
Welcome to New York.  I said to her, "and how am I supposed to know that you weren't ready?" She got even more angry and snapped "I will call you!" So, I said "then change the sign" and then I followed up with "thats some great customer service you have going there"

I walked away, and went to a self service line. Then realized that I was on a united flight operated by US Airways, So, I left that counter and stood in line at the Star Alliance Gold counter. The lady ( and I say "lady" very loosely) Looks at me and waves someone from another line over in front of me. So, I stand there and then she points to the economy line and yells.. "Next person" So, I gasp.. and say "what the?" And she gets all indignant and says "What? Oh.. You can come up here." Now there are two people with all their luggage in between me and the agent and I am waiting till jocko #1 gets out of the way. This agent yells twice... "sir.. come up here." Finally I say to her... I am going to wait until he gets out of the way... I can't get there till he moves his luggage." No apology.. she just looks at me like I am an idiot and says, "where are you going" I tell her Charlotte, and she explodes.... "Charlotte" That's not till 12:05!" 

I am now climbing "Anger Mountain" like Jon Krakauer climbed Mt. Everest! This is all just so unnecessary. There is only like 8 people in line. It is not like the airport is crazy busy. This woman is just downright rude and does not belong in the service industry. 

I try to explain that it is not like I chose to show up 4 hours 5 hours before my flight, but she keeps interrupting me telling me it is too early. I finally have had enough, and I got really intense and snap back at her. "Look Lady... I just arrived on a seventeen and a half hour flight from Thailand. I want to check in and get rid of my bag, and I don't care how early it is" She looked at me as only a New Yorker can, and then took credit for how great she is in the world, and said "I know... I know... you want to get some food and then go to sleep... I am just telling you that you aren't going to board till 11:30."        Good grief.

So, now I am sitting in the gate waiting to board the flight to Charlotte. I need sleep.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A completely different experience

We left the hotel on the coach and went with the group to see them off on their boat ride. They were all going on a dinner cruise. I took a few photos of the river, boats, a hotel that looked pretty cool overlooking the river. Then we hopped in a taxi and went over to the State Tower.
Took a photo of the building, and then went inside and there were about 5 people asking us where we were going.. did we have a reservation... then we found out that the "Dome" has about 3 restaurants and we didn't have any idea what the name of it was.

So, after a lot of hand motions, they finally sent us up to the 64th floor and we walked out onto this patio overlooking the city in the restaurant called Sirocco. It was truly breath taking! I mean...  you just have never seen anything before in your life.

I have been to the top of the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers, The Sears tower in Chicago, The Space needle, however, none of them have the exposure that this building gives you. You are 811 feet in the air and as you walk down this staircase towards the bar, you have about a 180 degree view of the city. It was truly spectacular! The city is lit up and beautiful. It looks a lot cleaner from 811 feet in the air. 

You make it down the stairs, and it is really something because it feels very steep, and you walk back up a level or two and land at this circular bar that is glowing beautiful bright colors. We almost immediately  found George, and he introduced us to his friend Hartley. Today was Hartley's birth day and we were honored to celebrate with them. Hartley was one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Easy to talk with, funny, and I thought, very laid back. We had a drink and then walked around the bar and realized that the far end of the bar is extended over the edge of the building. Just really fabulous design. I took a whole bunch of photos, which is not allowed, but I did it anyway. I wish I had a tripod because night photos from your hand = Blurry shots. 
I did get one or two pretty decent shots, but I did the best I could. Then we were summoned that our table was ready, and walked over to the table. The chairs are the heaviest chairs in the world. They have to be so they don't get blown around up there. 

The breeze was lovely, and there was a live band playing jazz up above us. The band was a bit loud, but you can't really complain about anything since the experience is just over the top. George ordered some lovely wine to start with, and then we just hung out and talked.. about everything.  The meal service was slow... not a bad slow... just not in your face making you feel rushed. The menu was tremendous so many options from all over the world. Australian Rack of Lamb, Chilean Sea Bass, Maine Lobster, Scottish Salmon, we were ready to do some eating! After being in Bangkok since Friday and really not having a satisfying meal since leaving NY, this was so exciting! I ordered Vine ripe tomatoes with mozzarella, beetroot reduction and spiced vegetable aranccini for an appetizer and Seared veal medallion topped with ricotta spinach ravioli served with potato galette on Pommery mustard sauce, for my entree. The food came, and it was really great. Good flavors, no smells that make you wonder what alley this was sitting on before they threw it in the wok. Just a great meal. George was so funny, I was crying I was laughing so hard a few times. The wine bottles were empty. They came with a birthday cake, and sang happy birthday. They finished the song for Hartley with.. "Happy Birthday Dear HARERY.... " Since they have trouble pronouncing the L's. Hartley blew out the candles, and the cake was pretty good. 

The meal ended and we closed the restaurant... it was late, and I was really beat. By the time we got back to the hotel it was about 1:00 am and I went pretty much right to bed after a video call with Rick.
So, the evening was polar opposite to our experience thus far  in Thailand, and I finally ate a good meal!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Setup in the London Room

We got into the room right at 5:00 pm and started setting up. In normal fashion, the guy from the AV company, Kenny, didn't want me to help with the setup. This happens a lot when we work with companies on international shows. 
We just assume that they feel like you are the client and they don't want you to work too hard. Mostly likely, they just don't trust us.... Nah.. just kidding. They are incredibly nice to work with and they work so hard and methodical. Kenny is a rock star and I am fortunate to have him on this show.
So, we finished the setup around 11:30. It took longer than I would have wanted, but the hotel was slow striking the room from the previous group so that held us up a bit.
I was tired and even though it was late I thought I should get some food. I hit the Hotel bar, and this woman came right for me.. telling me "No Chaats" I was so tired... and looked at her like... "What?" and she kept saying "No Chaats" and pointing at my legs. I realized she was saying "No Shorts" So, I just went to bed. Hungry... sweaty... tired.

I know.. poor Steve. 
Woke up around 5:00 am feeling pretty good.. went down to the Ballroom around 5:45 and fired up the sound system. I did a test record and all was well, so around 6:30 got some food at the Breakfast buffet restaurant. It was really decent food, but I just am not big on breakfast.

Tonight we are going to a cool resturaunt on the 65th floor of a building.. check out the place!

Unexpected changes.. go figure

Well, we thought we were going to get the room to set up at 11:00 am but.. not so much. There is a group in there till 5:00 pm. So, no worries... we will just rock out the setup this evening. 
While wondering around the little shopping mall attached to the hotel, I looked up and there was George! Just sauntering down the mall like we bumped into each other at Willowbrook mall. Only.... on the other side of the world.
We were all hungry, so Tina and I hopped in George's car, and after getting lost in the parking garage trying to find the exit, we were heading to a restaurant somewhere about 25 minutes away for Chinese food. George's friend Mr. Li met us there and brought some of his family and we had a pretty authentic Chinese food experience. Complete with a big fish that was laying on its side staring at us. Ok.. it was dead.. but the eye was staring at me as I spooned out it's parts onto my plate. It was a bit rough going... I am a Filet/Ribeye/T-bone/ Mcdonalds Big mac kinda guy, and between the Oysters, balloon fish and white fish that was spinning around the table on the lazy Susan. I was barely hanging on... Mr. Li and his family were getting a kick out of telling me to eat this.. and put this sauce on that. There was one moment where I had to just be still and try to breathe. My mouth full of slimy fish and scales. A deep breath and gulp! Try to stay calm and look cool. 32.6 percent successful, but at least I didn't spew it out.
A wendy's single with cheese is sounding really good about now.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wow... never been so sweaty on a meeting!

The humidity in Bangkok is like nothing I have ever experienced before in my life. Two to three minutes outside and you are just soaked from head to toe. The Temp is running about 95 degrees but the humidity is just overwhelming! The heat index is running about 105 degrees.

We hopped in a cab and wanted to go see the Grand Palace, however we found out that it wasn't going to be open till late afternoon and then only for a short period of time. So, the Taxi driver dropped us off near the river and we wondered around this area that was an outdoor produce and meat market. The smells were crazy and you had to have a strong stomach not to get sick. I took some photos and then talked to some people on the street about the area. They seemed over eager to help us figure out where we should go. I think it is mostly because they like to practice their English. So, we hopped in a Tuk Tuk, which is a motorcycle/taxi kinda thing, and next thing you know, you are ripping through the streets at lightning speed heading towards the sky train to head to the weekend market. The deal with the Tuk Tuk Driver was that he would basically wait for us anywhere we went, as long as we went to his sponsor and pretended to shop around for 10 minutes. His sponsor happened to be some big export company for precious stones. When you enter their building, they take you through the factory first. Which is just a room with about 30 workers in it and they are all making jewelry. Although, it is a racket... I am glad we went along with it because it was pretty cool to see the workers making jewelry.
On to the Sky Train... at the first station, there was a huge shopping mall which I was curious to see... not that I needed to buy anything, I just wanted to see how it was inside. So, after about 10 minutes of walking around in the sweet air conditioning, I had seen what I wanted to see, and back on the Sky Train up to Mo Chit to the weekend market.

The weekend market was so big, there is just no way to grasp what the size is because you are only able to see what is in front of you. I would guess the market is the size of 3 football fields.
So, after wondering around for a while fighting off the impending nausea because of the heat, humidity, and un-definable smells emanating from all sorts of things and places, We finally stopped at some outdoor restaurant for an ice cold Asahi beer. That's what we stopped for... what we got was a luke warm Asahi beer. That seems to be pretty average though. Nothing short of a 4 star hotel really gives you a cold beer.
It was nice to get out of the sun.. check to see if I was getting sunburned. All is good. I picked up a pair of asian lamps for about 8 bucks, and a north face waist bag for about 6 bucks cuz I was tired of having my jean pockets loaded down with everything. Then I saw an American guy standing at a shop with a Harley Davidson shirt on from Woodstock New York. I was excited to see that since I grew up about 20 minutes from that shop. I talked to him, and it turned out that he bought the shirt here in Bangkok. Too funny. He was from Lake Chelan Washington though, so we did have a bit in common to talk about. He is a school teacher and lives part time in Washington, and then part time in Bangkok. He avoids the winter I guess.
Then the temperature dropped considerably, and there were loud claps of thunder. It started to rain which felt great, but then stopped after only a few drops.
Back to the hotel on the Sky Train, and a wonderful shower. The shower here has two heads.. one regular head and then you turn a knob, and it has a rain head. Just amazing.

At the hotel bar we ordered some food, and had some mini pizza, nachos, and the McConrad... which was mini burgers.
Then time for a nap.

It was really hard to get up after the nap, but better to get up and go out, than to sleep till 11:00 pm and be up all night. So, we went back over to Pat Pong Night market, and shopped around for a while. I now have 4 Rolex's and two Breitling watches. (I have to stop buying knock off watches)

Then to the Happy Beer garden for a beer and some people watching. By this time it was almost midnight and I was fading, so we got a cab, and got back to the hotel. I got right into bed and fell asleep till almost 5:30 am. I am still a little sleepy today, but had a decent breakfast and my vendor is arriving, around 12:00 pm and we have to be setup by 5:00 for a client walk though of the slides.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Yea... clean socks!

First thing thing this morning, there was a note under my door telling me that my luggage was waiting for me down at the concierge. I was so excited! Clean clothes are really something that you can't get by without here since it is so hot and humid... you are pretty much sweating as soon as you walk out the door.

I hopped on Skype this morning and called my friend Allen who just happened to be in a Mac store. So, after talking on his cell phone to me for a few minutes, he downloaded and installed Skype on a Macbook Pro in the store and we were video calling live from Bangkok. Ain't technology  grand!

Today we are going to head out and see the Grand Palace which is supposed to be incredible. I tried to upload a photo or two from last night, but it just sat there. I will figure it out today.

and now the rest of the story

My flight to Atlanta was uneventful. Now the goal was to get to JFK. The gate agent in Atlanta got on the PA and made the announcement….”Ladies and Gentlemen, We are waiting for the crew to give us the ok to board the plane to JFK. We will let you know when we can board as soon as we have the ok. At this point, we do not have a new estimated time of arrival. Thank you for your patience”

Don’t thank me for my patience…. Get me in the air. At this point, I have to make an 11:35 am flight and the Atlanta flight is scheduled to arrive at 10:54 am,

Now for those of you that aren’t flying regularly… that means that the wheels touch the ground in NY at 10:54 am. That doesn’t mean that you are even close to getting out of the plane.


So, I start to explain to  the flight attendant that my connection is super tight, and she starts to walk away and says… “everyone’s is”. I stop her and ask if there is anyway that I can be the first off the plane. She continues to walk away in the most excellent display of customer service…. “You’ll be fine honey… they will make an announcement.” So, she is totally useless. The other flight attendant walks by later and I explain that I have a really tight connection and she immediately argues with me and says… “why do you think you have a tight connection… we are getting in early.” Early???   That is about the first bit of good news I have heard. She says that we are getting in at 10:45. Well, we finally touch down at 10:55 am and I go bolting up the aisle only to be stopped by a big dude who is blocking the way. I did manage however to clear about 5 rows of people before big dude stopped me.

So, I get off the plane, and I call my client who is already at the gate for the Bangkok flight and she tells me that they don’t think I have a boarding pass. I told her I did, and that I was in seat 18A, I ask what gate I need to go to, and find that it is terminal 4 gate B22. I am now in terminal 2. I asked the gate agent for directions and she says to leave the building and walk
  2 terminals away. I don’t have time to argue, so I bolt for the door.


Halfway to terminal 3 I realize I am going to get lost. No real signs. It is not really made fir pedestrians. I hailed a cab who was just about  to hit me anyway, and hopped in. By now, it is about 11:10 and the clock is running.

I told the cabbie to go to terminal 4 and he argues with me. I explain I have a flight that leaves in 20 minutes, and he finally gets with the program. When I got to terminal 4, I still had to go through security. I hit the line running. I asked the agent to put me to the head of the line since I was so close, and she just looked at me and made some kind of hand gesture and walked away. So, I decide to rely on the goodness of the human race and I start asking people if they will let me go ahead of them. Now, just about anywhere else in the country, people would be happy to help. This is New York though, and almost every time I asked if I could get in front of someone, they would look me right in the eye and ask “why.. what flight you on?”

So, here I am pushing my way through well over 100 people and the countdown is on. My client said that if I didn’t make it through security by 11:30 am they wouldn’t let me on the plane. It is 11:25 and I haven’t even hit the metal detector yet. I am done being polite… I just start saying excuse me and pushing my way through the line. I get to the gate around 11:27 and have to argue with them a bit as well. It seems that when United delayed the flight and switched me to Delta, Thai Airways somehow didn’t want to recognize my boarding pass. A little more strong arm, and I am finally on the plane. I see my client, and realize that I am actually going to go to Bangkok today.



Thursday, April 17, 2008

Will United ever get it right?

20 Minutes before my flight was supposed to take off, they announced that there would be a 1 hour delay. Apparently the crew needed one more hour of sleep so they could meet the "rest" guidelines. So, that also means that last night when the crew landed.... United knew full well that they were going to delay my flight. They also knew this morning when I checked in, and no one said a word. 
The delay would have landed me in DC 10 minutes before my next flight, so I never would have made the connection! I argued with the agent and he finally moved me over to Delta and I am now in Atlanta waiting for a flight to JFK. This flight is supposed to land at 10:54 am and my flight to Bangkok leaves at 11:35. I should be able to make it, however, there is not a chance that my luggage is going to.
So, much for the complimentary first class seats. 

Too Early O'clock

The Alarm went off at 2:15am and I snoozed for another glorious 9 minutes. Why do they make the snooze on alarm clocks for 9 minutes and not 10?
It took just over an hour to drive down to Charlotte. I usually fly out of Greensboro which is just about 20 minutes away, but the ticket price from Greensboro to Charlotte was thousands more than it was from Charlotte. I checked in... no waiting, and the screen said "As an elite flyer with a full fare ticket, your upgrade is complimentary" Score! First Class from Charlotte to Dullis, and then from Dullis to JFK. Maybe it is a sign that this trip is going to go smooth and silky all the way to Bangkok. Or, maybe it is the only thing that is going to go right for me for the next 5 days.
Time will tell, but I am optimistic. 
Brock... whatever wisecrack you just made.... I will get you for that!

So, it is just after 4:30 am and I am hungry! There is really nothing open though this early, so I grabbed a Gatorade from the sundry shop and I am hoping that they give me a bite to eat on the plane. Today is one of those days that you just don't need a flight delay. The turnarounds between flights are just too close. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Getting ready for Thailand

So, today is the last day at home before the long trip to Bangkok. I stayed up till 3:00 am this morning trying to adjust to the new time zone. I really don't have much else to do today besides pack.  I do need to clear off all the photos on my compact flash cards so that I am totally ready for whatever happens in Thailand. I leave my house around 2:30 am tomorrow morning to drive over an hour to Charlotte... park and then catch a 6:00 am flight to DC. Then another flight to JFK for an 11:30 am departure to Bangkok. 17 and a half hours later... touchdown. 
Should arrive around 4:00 pm Bangkok time. And then I will have to push myself not to go to sleep... so out for some site seeing and dinner. and maybe some photos.
I will blog from the airport for sure.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Leaving California

What a week! I rode the Ducati like a Pro.. or a mad man... ok.. maybe just a rookie who was on the brink of death but was too ignorant to know better. Anyway it happened, it was a blast. 
The bike was fun, I felt like I wanted to be about 2 inches taller to be really comfortable on it. The 620ie would probably be the duck for me, however I am glad I got to ride the S4Rs, because those kind of opportunities don't come along every day. 
I also got to spend some time on Black Death, which is always a treat. All in all the riding was amazing. We rode through these gold mining towns which are so quaint and fun. The weather was gorgeous. It was mostly in the high 80's just perfect for riding. We went to so many
 different bars and restaurants I can't even remember them all. Some were incredible, others were total dives. Allen tried to show me the whole spectrum of what is in Sacramento/Folsom.
 Everything from the Park Ultra Lounge to Poor Reds (you can imagine which one is the dive)
Here is a photo of the outdoor part of the Park Ultra Lounge.

And now one of Poor Reds (although not a photo)

Yesterday Allen took me to an area about 25 minutes from his house where there is an abundance of rock climbing. It was hot and the hike to get there was all down hill and although steep, not too bad at all. Once you arrive.. the view is incredible. The photos don't even come close to doing it justice, but here are a few anyway.

I am at the airport now heading home for 2 days, then off to Bangkok! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Vacation in the Corporate Theater

Folsom California has been really nice. Yesterday was cool and cloudy, but today was about 67 degrees and sunny with major blue skies. Allen and I took the motorcycles out for a putt putt and the riding was amazing.. the roads just as twisty as you could want, but a gentle pace made it such a relaxing ride. We went from Folsom to Coloma just amazing.. I wish I could have taken photos while I was riding, but obviously the title to this blog would be much different if I had.
Here is a video of me taking black death for a quick spin around the parking lot of this little park that we stopped at.

I was riding a 2007 Ducati S4RS which is the top of the line in the Ducati Monster series.
Tremendous power, and yet so smooth... like Butter!
Here is a photo of the two bikes where we stopped for lunch.
And then just a shot of Black Death for everyones enjoyment.

Monday, April 7, 2008

California USA

I am traveling today for pleasure. I can't remember the last time I took a trip that wasn't for work.... or at least tied to a job.
Atlanta was good. Short and good. The client was happy and a really nice guy. Apparently, he is the boss of the people that we work with most of the time on those shows. So, I suppose you would expect that he would be better than the rest, but we all know how that goes. This guy turned out to be really good to Dave and I.
At the end of the show, I got delayed in Atlanta for about an additional hour or so. I got home around 11:15 or so. 
Spent Sunday doing laundry and being all together too lazy. Wrote the government a few checks for 1st quarter taxes. Ouch!

Now I am sitting in the Greensboro airport getting ready to spend a week with my best friend Allen in Sacramento. He has a pair of Ducati's that he is storing for a friend with full rights to ride them as he pleases. So, I am really excited to ride a Ducati for the very first time. I am going to have to jump on Black Death too. That bike is so much fun to ride. I just can't wait!
For those of you unfamiliar with what Black Death is... There was a movie with Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke called "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man" Mickey Rourke had a really tough chopper in the movie that was built by a company in Marina Delray California. Allen has a version of this bike. His is Black Death 4.  Here is a photo of one of the Black Death Bikes. I am not sure which number this one is... but it will give you the idea.
Well, it is almost time to board. I land in Sacramento around 1:00 pm today and I may write about some stuff this week, although I have tried to keep the blog purely about Life in the Corporate Theater. We shall see.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


We got into the meeting room at the Ritz Carlton ahead of schedule, and the setup went pretty well. The room was super tight and the distance between the two sides of the U-shaped tables was about 4 feet. It was super tight, but really cozy.
We finished the set up around 6:00 pm and the client came in and saw the room. Everything was good, so Dave and I hopped in a cab and headed off to the Philips Center to watch the Atlanta Hawks play the Philadelphia 76'ers. We got out of the cab in the rain and found some ticket scalpers. Bought some great seats for $55.00 each. The intro to the game was cool. They had a drum line, cheerleaders and over each backboard they had these huge arena pyro's shooting 20 feet of flames up in the air.
 They had a Hawk fly down from the top of the arena and land on a dudes arm in center court. It was really fun. Then... Daves phone rang. right at the end of the 1st period, our client called. His client didn't like the way the room was set, and Dave
 and I had to bail from the game and rush back to the hotel to move all the tables and reset the microphones.
We laugh about it... but it was no fun leaving the game. 

We got back to the Ritz and made it happen. The client was appreciative, and all was well!
Cuz thats the way we roll!

Then Dave and I went for dinner at a diner around the corner and had to li
sten to really bad Karaoke. What a weird night!

So, here is a photo of the room as it finally got set. It is not a flashy photo, but then, these gigs aren't flashy. Unlike Mike Steighner's shows that always look like Disney world is celebrating their sweet 16th birth day. His shots can be found here. as well as his blog. 

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sitting in the Airport again

I am headed to Atlanta this fine foggy morning, and my flight is delayed. Only by 12 minutes, but that is the story that they are giving me now, and it is 9:06 am. We shall see what the future holds since the counter agent told me that the flight hasn't even left Atlanta yet.
This trip is a short one. I fly down today and setup around 3:00 pm. Show starts around 8:00 am tomorrow and should be over by 3:00 or 3:30. Strike, and then I fly tomorrow night at 8:15 pm.
Should be uneventful.
This show is an Advisory board. We set up a whole bunch of table microphones around a U-Shaped table and record a bunch of doctors comments as they listen to the drug company present data about the drug. DATA.... Lots of straight DATA. It is a whole bunch of graphs and stuff that I couldn't possibly comprehend. The good news is that it only runs from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Most everyone that reads the blog does these shows pretty consistently, and we all refer to them as bread and butter. They are pretty easy, and frequent. So, we all enjoy them, even though they are completely boring to us.
The people that we work with on the shows are very nice to us though and appreciate not having to worry about the AV, so it makes for a good experience.

On to more exciting news though!
I am doing a show in Thailand in April, and then heading on a 3 week run of shows in Paris, Prague or Budapest, and then off to St. Petersburg, and no... that show isn't in Florida. We are headed to Russia. Who would have ever thought?

May is looking to be an amazing month.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I am visiting my parents this weekend, and I walked outside onto their street, and I heard a chain saw ripping down the way... I had just enough time to pull out my camera and capture this!